Walking the Plank Over the Grand Canyon

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grand_canyon.jpgLike most lefties, I believe in protecting/respecting the environment and giving Native Americans a leg-up in exchange for the genocide we graciously offered them in the past. But what to make of it when Native Americans try to pull themselves from poverty by destroying the few precious lands they have left?

That is the question this article in the Washington Post asks about the Hualapi Indians’ new “skywalk” over the Grand Canyon. The article does a good job probing the issue, but let me just point to a few of the things that made me want to laugh and cry and roll my eyes and throw up and have my eyes pop out all at once.

The skywalk is an attempt to draw tourism to the pristine Hualapi lands, where only a fraction of the Grand Canyon’s 4.4 million-plus annual visitors stop. The skywalk is a 30,000-square-foot glass projection over the canyon itself. The tribe’s attempt at a casino failed because most visitors to Grand Canyon West come from Las Vegas. The tribe was then approached by a man who leads tours from Las Vegas, who wanted to find a quieter way for tourists to view the canyon than from a helicopter, and wanted to increase their angle of vision from 180 degrees in an aircraft “to 720 degrees in a skywalk.” More! Better! Even the Grand Canyon from a helicopter is not enough! I wonder how much better a view the skywalk actually offers.

The 84-year-old tribal elder who led the ceremony celebrating the skywalk’s completion said: “Like the car and buses. The white man made it, and it came out strong. We’ve got to give it a chance.”

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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